In today’s CPR episode, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew, Mark Tiefel, Neal Radichel, and Rob Sauers join together for a roundtable discussion on the impact of social media on the divine call. This is a follow-up to our recent podcast where we asked whether or not podcasting hurts preaching. Here, we are asking whether or not podcasting and other forms of social media that we may use to proclaim God’s Word interfere with a pastor’s divine call to his congregation. We will discuss some of the concerns of those who believe that social media does interfere with a pastor’s call and talk about the importance of communication between fellow pastors and the members we serve to address some of these concerns. We will also discuss some of the ways in which social media can be beneficial to both pastors and the members we serve. We pray that the Lord will bless our study!
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Rob Sauers takes us through a study of the three omnis that we commonly use to describe certain attributes of God. Those words are omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence. Our study will consider just a few of the many Scripture passages that establish the fact that our God is all-powerful, all-knowing, and always present. We will also consider why these attributes of God might terrify us as well as why they are a comfort to us.
In today’s podcast, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Rob Sauers review the Lenten hymn, “Christ, the Life of All the Living.” This is one of the more familiar of the Lenten hymns, and it appears in hymnals across denominations. This hymn really focuses not only on what Christ did through His life and death but what that means for us. As we study through the seven stanzas that make up this hymn, we will focus on what Christ suffered and what benefits we receive as a result. We pray that this review will help to prepare your hearts and minds for another Lenten journey.
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Mark Tiefel takes us through a study of the word “transfiguration.” Most of our churches celebrate this event in Jesus’ ministry each year on the last Sunday before the beginning of the Lenten season. The significance of this event is often forgotten about among us, but as we’ll see in this study, the transfiguration was a pivotal event in Jesus’ ministry. This event demonstrates in a dramatic way who Jesus is, and it also had a lasting effect on the disciples. We pray that this study will help you better to understand and appreciate the significance of this very important event in the Jesus’ ministry.
In today’s podcast, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Neal Radichel discuss the topic of the Divine Call. In one sense, all Christians have a divine call from the Lord as described in the Great Commission in Matthew 28:19-20 – “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” But typically when we talk about the Divine Call, we are talking about a call to the Public Ministry – when a congregation or a church body calls a pastor or teacher to serve them. In many denominations, the calling of a pastor or teacher is very similar to the process of applying for any other job. In the Lutheran church, we take a much different approach when it comes to issuing a call. Our discussion will define the Divine Call, discuss how we typically go about issuing a call, and how a pastor or teacher go about deciding what to do when they receive a call. We pray that this study will be informative and beneficial to you!
In today’s podcast, Pastors Nathanael Mayhew, Mark Tiefel, Neal Radichel, and Rob Sauers all gather together for a roundtable discussion on podcasting. Our discussion is in response to a recent article published in Christianity Today entitled “How Podcasting Hurts Preaching” which you can read by clicking here. As the title of the article suggests, the author argues that podcasting takes away from the value of the Sunday sermon, even causing some not to see the value in going to church at all. In our discussion, we will highlight the importance of gathering together for worship regularly while also pointing out how podcasts like ours and sermons you may listen to online can be beneficial to you in your daily Christian walk.
Psalm 22:30-31 Posterity will serve him; future generations will be told about the Lord. 31 They will proclaim his righteousness, declaring to a people yet unborn: He has done it! (NIV)
You might be just as surprised as me. That’s the NIV up there. It uses the word “posterity,” which is strange for a modern translation. Perhaps it’s an indication that a better word really doesn’t exist. What does posterity mean? It’s one of those words that has no doubt fallen out of use in our culture. I can’t think of one time I’ve used it outside of a Biblical context. Look it up and you’ll find out it means a person’s descendants or future generations. When you think about the above verses with an understanding of posterity, it really shows the Lord’s amazing power. At the end of one of the most vivid portrayals of Christ’s death in the entire Bible, even prophesying His cry to the Father on the cross, we are told that one of God’s concerns is the future faith of those yet unborn – the posterity.
As I reflected upon another anniversary of the Roe v. Wade (Jan. 22, 1973) court decision in our country, legalizing abortion, I couldn’t help but consider the import of this verse on the sanctity of life discussion. Hundreds of years before God’s own Son was crucified for the sins of the world, He was thinking of the posterity – you, me, and countless other people. Through the mystery of the incarnation, Christ Himself was part of this very group as He would be born nearly 1,000 years after this Psalm was written. These verses are further proof, in a substantial list of evidences from Scriptures, of the great importance God places upon children, especially those “yet unborn.”
In many ways, children are forgotten just as much as the meaning of posterity. This verse also speaks to the investment that children are. Parents are given the responsibility by God (not personal choice) to care for children and raise them. This takes time, effort, work, heartache, blood, sweat, tears, patience, love, understanding, and a many more qualities. But, just as God lays this great and awesome burden upon mothers and fathers, He also promises the gifts to accomplish the task. No parent can complain that God hasn’t provided what is needed. No father can say he isn’t prepared. No mother can claim that she can’t do it. Being a parent is inconvenient even for those who have their child’s life planned in every way from conception. It’s the way investments work. It takes work and sacrifice – there is no easy path. And if it does become too much to carry alone, there are many others who would welcome the opportunity to help.
The idea of a “posterity” reminds us to think long-term, just as you would when measuring an investment. Unplanned pregnancies need this vision. My heart aches for the unwed mother who is abandoned by a cowardly boyfriend and tasked with completely changing her life to make room for a child (not the only context of abortion by any means but perhaps one of the most common). Those situations are devastating. They are tougher than anything I’ve ever faced. They are proof of the importance of God’s marital standards. But one thing that situation is not is cause for murder. Never. And no matter what is deemed legal or what excuse is pressed upon a young woman by doctors, politicians, friends, or family you will never feel better about taking an innocent life. That’s because the posterity matters. God has made it so. God has made you so that you feel it to be so.
If you have a investment I’m guessing you’re careful with it. If you want it to amount to anything of value, you have to be. A mature investor recognizes the need to be consistent, patient, focused for the long-term. For far too long our nation has been neglecting its greatest investment. If we care enough about retirements, mortgages, and financial portfolios to be responsible and plan for the future- why not with our children? May we always love, care for, and consider our “posterity” just as the Lord has been doing from the beginning of time!
In our Word of the Week, Pastor Rob Sauers takes up a study of the word conception. This week marks the 45th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision that allowed women to abort their unborn children in our country. Related to this decision is the debate as to when human life begins. Does it begin at conception or sometime later? We, of course, have laws in our country against taking another person’s life. But isn’t that what we’re doing in an abortion? To try to relieve this tension, those who support abortion say that human life does not begin at conception, but rather, either when the fetus could survive outside of the womb or when the child is born.
Does God’s Word have anything to say about this? It most certainly does! Our study will look at those key Scripture passages that deal with this topic, and we will see that God’s Word clearly indicates that life begins at conception.
Pastors Nathanael Mayhew and Neal Radichel give a summary and review of the documentary “Patterns of Evidence: Exodus” in our podcast today. This video is available for purchase or on Netflix and covers the investigation of a man into the history of the Children of Israel in Egypt and their Exodus to the Land of Canaan. They will discuss some of the important archeological discoveries that verify the historical accuracy of the Biblical account of the Israelites in Egypt and their conquest of Canaan. They will also look into some of the reasons why this information is not better known today. In addition, this is not the typical documentery. Filled with pictures, animation and computer aided reinactments, along with interviews with real people this is sure to keep you interested. If you are interested in the history of the Old Testament and how archeology verifies the Bible, you won’t want to miss this documentary.
Have you ever wondered, when the times comes, if you will be ready?
In the days of Esther, the Persian Empire was the dominant nation on the Earth. These were the days after the Babylonian captivity, after the Jewish people had returned to Jerusalem. Yet there were Jews still left in foreign lands. This account focuses on how those Jews left behind affected the livelihood of their entire people.
“After these things King Ahasuerus (Xerxes) promoted Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, and advanced him and set his seat above all the princes who were with him. And all the king’s servants who were within the king’s gate bowed and paid homage to Haman, for so the king had commanded concerning him.” Esther 3:1-2
In the modern era, Haman would be considered a man who has everything: power, influence, fame, fortune, and the ear of the king; yet it wasn’t enough for him. All the power and position in the world led him towards an evil heart, rather than fill him with gratitude for what he had been given. And when Mordecai, Esther’s faithful uncle, would not pay homage to him, he reacted in a terrible way.
“When Haman saw that Mordecai did not bow or pay him homage, Haman was filled with wrath. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone, for they had told him of the people of Mordecai. Instead, Haman sought to destroy all the Jews who were throughout the whole kingdom of Ahasuerus—the people of Mordecai.” Esther 3:5-8
Here Haman is given an opportunity, even though it may not have seemed so to him. This Jew refused to obey the law of the Persians and showed defiance in the face of the king’s right hand. Perhaps if Haman knew of the Triune God, he would’ve been compelled to inquire why Mordecai acted in such a manner. Instead, he reacts with anger and pride, opting to exact revenge for a perceived slight on not just Mordecai, but his entire people. His arrogance blinded him, and he was not able to act correctly when the time came.
“So Esther was taken to King Ahasuerus, into his royal palace, in the tenth month, which is the month of Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign. The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” Esther 2:16-17
Esther was certainly a compelling figure—an orphan, taken captive to a foreign land, she overcame adversity with the help of a loving uncle and became queen of the land. Beautiful and brave, Esther certainly fits the mold of a queen, and also a hero. But like all people who wield power, she was faced with a difficult problem. Haman, furious over Mordecai’s actions, moved to destroy her people, so it was up to Esther to save them.
“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish.’” Esther 4:13-14
What’s curious about Esther is that she doesn’t really fit the mold of the Old Testament hero. No one would describe her as having great faith or being full of righteousness. She was not Abraham, walking by faith and not by sight as he traveled to an unknown land, nor was she Moses, who without prompting was willing to exchange his life for that of God’s people (to God Himself no less!).
“Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” Esther 4:16
Obedient and courageous, not out of willingness or pure faithfulness, but because she had no other choice. She was given an opportunity as well, and while her faith wasn’t strong, it led her act correctly, albeit reluctantly, when the time came.
“And every day Mordecai paced in front of the court of the women’s quarters, to learn of Esther’s welfare and what was happening to her. Esther 2:11
In those days, while Mordecai sat within the king’s gate, two of the king’s eunuchs, Bigthan and Teresh, doorkeepers, became furious and sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. So the matter became known to Mordecai, who told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.” Esther 2:21-22
Loving and faithful. Devout and wise. Humble and generous. Mordecai embodies everything we desire from our leaders. He was a man that did not waver in his faith in times of trouble, but trusted that His God would work salvation for His people.
“And Mordecai told them to answer Esther: ‘Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?’” Esther 4:13-14
Although Mordecai never mentions his God by name, we see his strong faith. This strong faith is what led him to stay standing while Haman passed by. It gave him the confidence to declare to Esther that his people would be delivered one way or another. It led him to react with hope in the face adversity, never doubting the strength of His God.
Which one of these people are you? How do you react in the face of adversity? What is your mindset when confronted with tough choices? We are all three of these people. We have times when we exhibit a strong faith, following the will of the Lord. There are also times when we have a weak faith, only doing what is right reluctantly. But most often, we are Haman, lacking faith and trust. We fail to recognize God’s hand in our lives and we instead, pridefully turn inward for answers and wisdom. And our poor decisions and lack of faith, like Haman, should lead to a grisly end on the gallows.
So then, when the time comes, will we be ready?
Only by grace will we be! “For by grace we have been saved, through faith, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9. Jesus Christ was ready from the moment He was born and every moment after. And it is through Him, that we are ready, for anything. Thanks be to God for giving us the victory in Christ Jesus our Lord.